The Empire Strips Back: The Unauthorized Star Wars™ Burlesque Parody Returns to Los Angeles

Tickets at

Hollywood (November 4, 2022) – The internationally acclaimed The Empire Strips Backthe Unauthorized Star Wars™ Burlesque Parody will have a limited engagement at the Montalbán Theatre, 1615 Vine Street, in Hollywood beginning November 19 (press opening November 30).   Tickets are available at

Featuring all of the classic Star Wars™ characters, The Empire Strips Back created by Russall S. Beattie, takes audiences to a galaxy far, far away, creating one of the most unforgettable (and unauthorized) theatrical versions of the beloved franchise.

Combining striptease, song and dance, troupe routines and plenty of humor, audiences are transported into the world of burlesque to witness a menacing troop of seriously sexy Stormtroopers, a dangerously seductive Boba Fett, tantalizing Twi’leks, a delightfully lukewarm Taun Taun, a lady-like Skywalker, and of course, scantily clad and daring Droids. Even Darth Vader will explore her feminine side with a fantastical twist.

The Empire Strips Back celebrates the resurgence of burlesque, while delivering a powerful experience for fans of the art form as well as the classic film series. Ariana Bindman of SF Gate said, “Popularized in the U.S. in the 19th century, burlesque blurs the line between comedy and adult entertainment, incorporating camp and theater in playful strip routines.”

Bindman continued, “Dark and sexy … with each draw of the curtain, we saw a series of acts that were visually decadent and tonally unique … a captive Princess Leia gyrating in a bikini to the Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’ or sexy stormtroopers stomp to the relentless ‘Seven Nation Army’ … or resident space pimp, R2D2 making rain by ejecting wads of cash into the air while a braggadocious Han Solo undulated to “Smooth Criminal” making every goth and nerd in the audience scream like animals.”

She concludes, “I saw the Star Wars strip show and now I’m forever changed.  An enormous success … one of the most memorable and impressive live performances I’ve ever seen.  I know that The Force is already with them.”

Australian creator Russall S. Beattie says that producing “Strips Back” was inevitable. “I’m Peter Pan. I’ve never really grown up,” he said. “It takes all the best things about being a kid, and all the best things about being an adult and just jams them together.” Asked about his knuckle tattoos, which spell out “Sexy Boss” — a nickname he earned while working in the burlesque circuit – he says.  ‘I was drunk in Texas one night and got it and I could tell I was drunk because the ‘x’ is not center.’

First imagined in 2011 by Beattie, the original production was booked in a small, 150 seat room in Sydney for a one-off, three-night run. Fast-forward to seven national sold-out Australian tours, an enthusiastic audience of over 100,000+, and a Huffington Post video feature boasting 20+ million viral views.

On its last U.S. tour, The Empire Strips Back was a sold-out hit in prestigious venues, from San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre, to Los Angeles’ Wiltern and New York’s PlayStation Theatre, with uproarious standing ovations and rave reviews.  The 2022 Los Angeles engagement follows the hit San Francisco run at Chinatown’s Great Star Theater, rattling the walls of the 97-year old venue.  Roger Pincombe, Executive Director of the Great Star said “The Empire Strips Back was one of the largest, most exciting productions the theater has seen in recent decades, and it marks the start of a new era for our venerable venue.”

Beattie and producing business partner, Craig Ridgwell, have built a reputation for themselves in the Australian and London theatre circuits; clients include HBO/Foxtel, Warner Bros, EB Games, Sydney Film Festival, and Oz ComicCon. The two have worked alongside one another for 10 years as creative and producer of live shows, achieving cult-stardom for developing and promoting other internationally-acclaimed burlesque parodies such as Dames of Throne, Biba Wizard of Oz, Batman Follies, and Hail to The King, all seen by thousands in sold-out theatres across Australia.

The Hollywood engagement of The Empire Strips Back is produced by Foster Entertainment and Neil Gooding Productions, presented with Fever and Secret Los Angeles.

The Critics’ Rave!

Lily Janiak in the San Francisco Chronicle

  • The Empire Strips Back makes for an inspiring fandom outlet, unlocking further fantasy behind beloved sci-fi.
  • The show takes the franchise’s contests of power, military swagger and communicative costumes to their logical extreme [as it] it elevates sexy subtext to text.  The result doesn’t so much mock as pay tribute to George Lucas’ imagination, suggesting just how many more riches there are to be tapped in a galaxy far, far away.
  • A lightsaber becomes so powerful it forces its bearer to disrobe. The landspeeder — Luke’s humdrum vehicle for tootling around Tatooine — gets a makeover as object for a glistening car wash while a gonk droid (the one that looks like a trash can) bops along. Princess Leia unfurls her Cinnabon-roll hairdo to reveal long braids as a lurking R2-D2 supplies stage lights with its rotating head.
  • A hyperkinetic Han Solo, swishes through a battalion of dance moves in less than 12 parsecs, treating his groin as if it’s a tractor beam. If you’ve always detected homoerotic tension between Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee, it validates you.
  • It suggests that Jabba the Hutt — exquisitely rendered, like a cross between Baby Sinclair from Dinosaurs and a rotting jack-o’-lantern — isn’t just evil but misunderstood.
  • Maybe the Emperor didn’t need to summon the dark side of the force to quash rebel scum and rule the galaxy. What if he’d only known about Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”? … maybe then he’d need to construct a Death Star only as big as a very large beach ball and tether it to the rafters, the better to leap onto for an airborne dalliance.

Barry Willis in the Aisle Seat Review said of the San Francisco engagement

  • “It’s probably some of the most fun you’ll have in an SF Theatre all summer long.  A full house on opening night and a rowdy one too.  Who knew that San Francisco had some many heterosexuals?
  • Musically, and choreographically, there’s something for everyone in this show,—especially those steeped in Star Wars lore, pretty much a definition of everyone born after 1965
  • The show’s dancers are talented, gorgeous, and aggressive, with moves that encompass every dance genre from the early ‘60s to the hip-hop present. The show’s pop music also encompasses the past 60-some years, going as far back as the Spencer Davis Group and into the contemporary era with pieces like “Seven Nation Army.”

Calendar listing for The Empire Strips Back
Venue: Montalbán Theatre, 1615 Vine Street, Hollywood CA 90028
Dates: Begins November 17; press opening November 30
Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm;
Saturdays at 7pm and 9:30pm; Sundays at 7pm
Duration: 2 hours including a 15-minute intermission
Tickets starting at $44.00 at

PHOTOS: High-resolution photos are available here.

Disclaimer: This is a parody production. Star Wars™ and its characters are registered trademarks of Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd or Lucasfilm Ltd. This production is not sponsored, endorsed by or affiliated with Disney, Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd, Lucasfilm Ltd or any of its subsidiaries or affiliated companies and/or third-party licensors.

The San Francisco Cast of The Empire Strips Back
Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Cecilia Qu’in in The Empire Strips Back in San Francisco
Photo Credit: Kevin Berne
Isa Musni in The Empire Strips Back in San Francisco
Photo Credit: Kevin Berne

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